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Stages of spiritual Development
There are fourteen stages of spiritual development,
SIDDHANT CHAKRAVARTY Nemichandra Acharya
Out of the five Bhavas of all the living creatures, some have two; some three, some four and some have all the five Bhavas. There are
(i) Aupshamik, (ii) Kshayik, (iii) Kshayopshamik,
(iv) Audyik and (v) Parnamik. These are the Bhavas of the
self. Out of these the first four, from the real point of view, though
soul operated, conventionally are according to Upsham, Kshaya,
Kshayopshama and Udai and, therefore, their names Aupshamik,
Kshayopshamik and Audyik are meaningful; the name Parinam is given to
the eternal, same, without the support of any karma, and easily natural
Bhav and such a Bhav is called the Parnamik Bhav. These bhavas, caused
by delusion and activities of the mind, speech and body, produce
fourteen stages which are called the Gunasthans; which are as follows: -
The word Mitthyatva means untrue, perverse, false or contradictory.
The collective Bhav of those beings, whose faith of the purposeful
substances like the soul are untrue, is called the Mitthyatva Gunasthan.
Just as a patient suffering from fever does not relish sweet things, the
person having wrong faith does not relish the religion of the soul,
which assumes three forms, right faith, right knowledge and right
conduct. This means that he does not have correct faith in spiritual
experience as also faith of the God, the scripture and the monk.
This wrong faith is of two kinds-(i) Inherited, (ii) Adopted. The
current of the absence of real consciousness in all the creatures of
this world, by which these develop the sense of oneness in inanimate
objects like bodies and their instrumental attachments etc., is called
the inherited wrong faith. In its presence, the perverse imaginary faith
of creatures not knowing the exact nature of things, which is newly
acquired is called adopted wrong faith.
The affliction of right faith is Asadan and the modification
associated with that is Sasadan. When an Aupshamik Samyakdirshti being
in the appearance of Anantanubandhi passion has in that period of
Aupshamik right faith for one Samay or at the most six Avalies, destroys
right faith and fails from that holy mount, but does not touch the
ground of wrong faith, the state of that being is called Sasadan
The full name of this Gunasthan is Sasadan Samyaktva. The word
Samayaktva has been added on account of the logic of past association.
Its time is Antarmuhurat only.
The Gunasthan having correct and incorrect faith at the same time in
the fruition of Samyakmitthyatva Prakriti that faith is called the mixed
Gunasthan. Just as we taste curd and sugar and enjoy its mixed taste, in
the same way person having such a faith has both correct and incorrect
beliefs. Anantanubandhi passion is non-existent here. The duration of
this Gunasthan is also Antarmuhurat.
From this Gunasthan a being does not go to Deshvirat or Apramatta
Sanyat Gunasthan and does not have age bondage of the next phases, death
and Marnantik Samudghat.
4. Avirat Samyakdrishti
The state of the soul with real right faith and devoid of real
observance of rules of conduct (i.e., Anuvirat and Mahavrit) is the
fourth stage named Avirat Samyaktva.
This soul attains right faith with Kshayopsham and other
achievements and with external conduct suitable for a being in the
fourth stage, by being in the vicinity of the soul with its efforts and
with spiritual experience. This is to say that the being understands the
real intrinsic nature of the soul, that he is the sentient supreme God,
he alone being the knower, the rest the known, and that he does not have
any relationship with the non-self entities. The unnatural
manifestations of the soul are not in its nature; they disappear with
the vision of the sentient nature and with oneness with it, they do not
arise at all. This vision with determined decisive state touches the
blissful and the detached state of the being; even when the intrinsic
experience is lost sight of, the purity of the Soul consequent of the
absence of the Anantanubandhi passions persists and is called the fourth
Gunasthan of Avirat Samyaktva.
It is of three kinds : (i) Aupshamik, (ii) Kshayopshamic and (iii)
Kshayik. Out of these three with anyone kind of right faith, as long as
this being holds the state of non-abstinence on account of fruition of
Aprityakhyanavaran passion, pride, deceit or greed, he is in the stage
of the fourth Avirat Samayakdrishti Gunasthan. The being, in this stage,
being rich in the consciousness of the soul, naturally becomes
indifferent to the sensual pleasures. From the point of view of
Charnanuyog, he has not renounced injury to moving and non-moving
creatures and the objects of the five senses. Non-abstinence of the
twelve kinds is, therefore, found in him.
The aspirant in the fourth stage develops the purity of soul
operation and attains the fifth stage. The soul experience is now more
frequent than in the fourth stage and the Aprityakhyanavaran passion is
eliminated. His peace of the soul having been developed, he becomes
indifferent towards non-self entities and develops merits of Deshvirat.
He begins to observe the rules of conduct, as they should be, but his
purity not being very forceful, he cannot accept monkhood. This stage is
the fifth stage. This is also called Vratavirat or Sanyatasanyat
Gunasthan, for internally he follows real abstinence of the
Sanyamasanyam stage, while outwardly he abstains from killing or
injuring moving creatures but does not abstain from killing or injuring
non-moving creatures. The householder of this stage follows Anuvarats as
a matter of course. Sentient Chhullak, Elak and Airika of the eleventh
stage come under this Gunasthan.
6. Pramatta Sanyat
The sentient aspirant with right faith, who achieves more purity
than that of the fifth Gunasthan, having qualified himself for the
complete conduct with some recklessness, is in the sixth stage of
Pramatta Sanyam Gunasthan. This term is meaningful, for there is
elimination of twelve passions in the complete conduct stage, with the
existence of Sanjwalan passion with usual force and recklessness that
From the Mahavrata aspect the monk in the sixth stage thinks with
feelings of attachment. Though teachings are imparted and accepted, food
is accepted, going and coming from one place to the other continues; and
yet the internal purity of the monk is retained and accordingly the
twenty-eight primary rules and their associates are duly observed. The
twenty-eight primary rules are :
Five Mahavratas, five Samities, six essentials, five sense controls,
nakedness, uprooting of hair, non-bathing, sleeping on the earth, not
cleaning one's teeth, taking meals in a standing posture, and taking
meals once only.
The fifteen recklessnesses are four unhealthy narration of women,
food, nation and king, four passions of anger, pride, deceit and greed,
five senses, sleep and love. These can be multiplied into eighty. Though
it attracts impurities, this recklessness does not destroy the real
abstinence of the sixth Gunasthan.
Process of thoughts with necessary purity of operation is found in
the sixth stage, while the seventh Gunasthan is without the process of
thinking. The duration of both is Antarmuhurat. As such the monks may
remain in that stage for thousands of years. They alternate between the
sixth and the seventh stages without any exception always, staying in
the one for an Antarmuhurat only and then going to the other. One
noteworthy fact is that the monk first has the experience of the seventh
Gunasthan and then he descends to the sixth.
7. Apramatta Sanyat
The real monks without the fifteen reckless nesses are in the
Apramatta Gunasthan. The twelve passions are totally absent here, while
Sanjwalan passions are also very soft, appropriate to this stage of
development. The reckless nesses do not generate any impurities here and
the primary and secondary rules of conduct lead to faultless operative
stage. The designation Apramatta Sanyat is, therefore, meaningful.
Knowingly there is no thought process, having meditation of the pure
soul and its experience. This state continues in all the Gunasthans
ahead. This Gunasthan has two kinds (i) Swasthan Apramatta Sanyat, (ii)
Satishaya Apramatta Sanyat.
Those in this stage who do not ascend the Kshapak Shreni or the
Upsham Shreni and alternate between the Pramatta and Apramatta states
are called Swasthan Apramatta Sanyat. The above same monks having
developed special oneness with the self facing the ascendance of the
Shreni and attaining the purity of Adhahpravrittakaran are called
Satishaya Apramatta Sanyat. When they apply all their spiritual might
and develop oneness with the soul, they reach the eighth, ninth, tenth
and the twelfth Gunasthans in an Antarmuhurat, destroying the twenty one
Prakrities of Charitra Mohiniya, after which they definitely obtain
omniscience (thirteenth Gunasthan). If their effort is not complete,
they reach eighth, ninth, tenth and the eleventh Gunasthans in an
Antarmuhurat and subside the twenty-one prakrities instead of destroying
The duration of Adhahpravrittikaran is an Antarmuhurat. ('Karan'
here means manifestation). The soul in this state has countless times
greater purity and different souls in backward and forward stages have
similar manifestations as well dissimilar ones. Souls with
Adhahpravrittikaran are called Satishaya Apramatta Sanyat.
The modifications of souls in this Gunasthan are unprecedented,
their duration being an Antarmuhurat. Each soul has still greater purity
every moment. Considered from the side of different souls, the
modifications of souls in different times are dissimilar and those
staying therein in the same time have both similar and dissimilar
modifications. Such being their development, the Gunasthan is named as
Apurvakaran. Souls ascending on the Upsham Shreni as well as the Kshapak
Shreni have the same modifications of their beings.
Anivritti means similar and karan means modifications. Each soul has
only one modification which is with infinitely great purity and is
dissimilar in cases of souls in different timings and the modifications
of the souls in one and the same time are always similar. Such being the
current of modifications in this state, this Gunasthan is called the
Anivrittikaran Gunasthan. The duration is Antarmuhurat. The soul at this
stage by the fire of contemplation subsides the twenty Prakrities of
Mohiniya or destroys the twenty Prakrities of the Mohiniya and the
thirteen of the Namkarma. People in this Gunasthan do not attract future
life karmic matter.
10. Sukshma Sampraya
Those who entertain minor greed passion unintentionally and have
similar modifications of fixed purity, which is eternally multipliable
and who have their karmas always either subsided or destroyed, are said
to be in the Sukshama Sampray Gunasthan.
11. Upshant Kashay
The person in this Gunasthan has subsidised external and internal
passions as the clean water in the autumn season, having been purified
by adding alum to it. The duration here is also Antarmuhurat. Since it
has complete detachment with imperfect sentience it is also called
Upshant Kashay Veetrag Chhadmastha Gunasthan. The difference in
modifications as found in supievor Gunasthans is not found in this as
also in the following Gunasthans. Out of the four destructive karmas,
the Mohiniya is in the Upsham state while the other three have the
Kshayopsham state. On the completion of the duration of this Gunasthan
or on completion of the age, the soul fails down from this Gunasthan.
12. Kshina Kashay
The souls that have annihilated all passions and attained perfect
detachment with the complete elimination of all the karmas like the pure
water kept in a pure quartz vessel, occupy this Gunasthan named Kshina
Kashay. The duration is Antarmuhurat. Since there is yet imperfection in
sentience, though complete detachment has been attained this Gunasthan
is called Kshina Kashay Veetrag Chhadmastha. The saints following the
perfect conduct in this stage, have annihilated the Mohiniya Karma
altogether and the remaining three destructive karmas have their
Kshayopshama. They will destroy the three remaining karmas in an
Antarmuhurat and reach the thirteenth Gunasthan.
13. Sayog Kevaii Jin
The souls in the thirteenth stage who have dispelled the darkness of
ignorance altogether with the rise of the sun of omniscience and who
have attained Godhood, after achieving nine accomplishments (Kshayik
right faith, conduct, consciousness, perception, charity, gain, Bhog,
Upbhog and vitality) have become Kevalies, for their sentience does not
now need the help of senses or light. Since they are with the operations
of the mind, speech and body, they are Sayog and since they have
conquered both the psychic and material karmas they are called the Jins
and their Gunasthan is called, Sayog Kevati Jin. These same Kevali
Bhagwan enlighten the path of emancipation by their divine discourses on
the path of liberation of the soul.
Influx of Sata Vedniya on account of mental, bodily and speech
movements is for a moment only, but that does not materialize in bondage
due to the absence of passions.
14. Ayog Kevali Jin
The Arahant Bhagwans in this Gunasthan are without any activity of
mind, speech and body and have attained omniscience. Therefore, this
Gunasthan is called Ayog Kevali Jin. The duration is the time taken in
pronouncing five vowels in Hindi. In the last two moments the Arahant
Bhagwan destroys all the Prakrities of the Aghati Karmas
(non-destructive karmas) and attains Siddhahood.
Those who have now crossed the fourteen Gunasthans of the worldly
existence, are now bereft of all the eight psychic and the conventional
karmas; who enjoy the everlasting bliss, which is dependent only on
their own souls; who are without any blemish being without psychic,
conventional or matter karmas; who are eternal, for now they would not
assume any new modification of life phases; who have got the eight great
attributes due to the destruction of all the eight psychic and material
karmas (Kshayik, Samayktva, Anant Gyan, Anant Darshan, Anant Virya,
Sukshamatva, Awagahanatva, Agurulaghutva, and Avayavadhatva); who have
permanently settled in the uppermost part of the world, for it is not in
their nature now to move about in any of the ten directions; and who are
now complete in themselves, having nothing now to do. These blessed
souls are called the Siddhas.
Note:- The contents of this article are from the book TATWAGYAN PATHMALA- (Part-II)
Editor:-Dr. Hukamchand Bharil
" Truth is an experience not a substance"
" Every soul is capable of achieving Godhood."
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